customer retention | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 5

“You’re the Boss” - 2/20/24


Terrence is excellent at what he does.  From a technical standpoint, he knows how to keep the facility clean.  He’s the lead custodian, and he knows that keeping things straight does not necessarily mean keeping things sanitary.  He knows what chemicals to use and not to use, how to Read more

Customer Understanding Leads to Relationship Growth - 2/13/24


We’ve worked with educational organizations at all grade levels over the years.  One special and unique characteristic about the staff who work in these organizations is that there’s a clear intent to know about the students as individuals, to focus on them rather than purely focusing on what’s delivered Read more

Define Customer Service Success Differently - 2/6/24


When I’m watching television, listening to the radio, or listening to a podcast, it’s always interesting when the topic moves to the question:  How can you be a success?  The speakers often discuss the process of becoming a success with the assumption that people believe success is defined by Read more

Care Enough to Give Them a Heads Up - 1/30/24


Nothing bad at all might happen.  Every day in the office could seem like every other day.  Sights and sounds and smells might continue to be the same.  But we have a lot of construction going on around our offices, and the building manager knows the type of work Read more

Be Better than AI Customer Service - 1/23/24


There was a recent CBS Sunday Morning Show story called: How artificial intelligence is revamping customer call centers. The journalist described how artificial intelligence is being used in customer service, and he noted the millions of pieces of information that can be processed in a matter of seconds. There are clear Read more

Recognize the Situation, and Pivot - 1/16/24


The customer has a complaint, or they may have an important question about an order or their account.  You may be talking to them in an emergency room, in the lobby of the government building, on the phone, or in a video conversation.  And in many of these Moments Read more

Sharpen Your Service Delivery - 1/9/24


You work so hard at being responsive and providing high quality information.  You work hard at fixing problems.  But is your delivery…dull? I’m not saying that it has to be exciting, but let’s think of the word “exciting.”  It means that something’s interesting, has energy, is positive.  Just by its Read more

Make Empathy Your Superpower - 1/2/24


I was facilitating a Service Excellence Training class for a Higher Ed client in the Northeast several years back.  As I was walking through the portions of our technique for defusing the angry customer, I talked about empathy.  I talked about accepting responsibility. Immediately, one of the hands in the Read more

Holiday Poem 2023 - 12/26/23


The days are getting longer, The skies are getting brighter. Festivities behind us, And festivities before us.   There’s ups and downs and change coming, And we can’t predict when or where. There’s challenges and joys and opportunities around, Of which you may or may not be aware.   But one thing we know as we look at each Read more

Refresh, Rejuvenate, Refocus - 12/19/23


It’s that time of year.  We’re going 100 miles an hour, and holiday time is upon us.  We not only have all the work to do, but we somehow have less time to do it.  We somehow have other things that are of competing interest, and even though those Read more

Provide Customer Service When They’re Absent – 7/12/16 TOW

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment


Rick went on sick leave, hating to miss out on his great relationships with his co-workers for a few weeks but knowing he needed to get himself better. Eventually his health improved, but when he returned, he had resentment against the company.

Although an occasional co-worker would text Rick to check on him or bring him a meal at home, his direct supervisor never reached out. No manager ever communicated with Rick in any way. “They preach caring, collaboration, support, and relationships at work,” Rick thought to himself, “but when you’re sick and at home, it’s like you don’t even exist.”

The local restaurant loved its regulars – they were not only good for business, but they were fun to have around, fun to develop relationships with, fun to just see every week. When a couple of the best customers – Dave and Deanna Lundy – didn’t show for their usual Thursday happy hour or their Sunday brunch for a few weeks, one of the managers and their favorite server noticed. But that’s all they did – they just noticed.

Dave and Deanna had taken a week’s vacation, and then Deanna had gotten sick – even had a brief hospital stay. She was better now, and they decided to try a new restaurant on Thursdays and another on Sundays – for some reason, they didn’t feel the same strong pull to go back to the local place they had patronized for years.

Too often we view customer service as something to do just “in the moment,” reacting to something requested or to an issue presented. But if part of delivering great customer service requires that we care about the other, it should move us to act even when the customer’s not right in front of us. We should be moved to reach out to the co-workers not around. We should want to know if our “regulars” are okay. We should convey we care about them even if they’re not accomplishing a task at work or paying us money for some product or service.

Notice those that are missing, and care enough to serve them when they’re absent.

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Don’t Copy Company A – 5/19/15 TOW

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Terri, the church secretary, knows that the copier agreement ends in about a year, and while she’s aware of its upcoming renewal timeline, it’s obviously not something that she thinks about much.

The current copier vendor (“Company A”) signed on with the church two years ago, before Terri became the new secretary; that vendor hasn’t contacted the church once since the contract was signed. Even though there’s a maintenance agreement, they have never come out to do service because the church never called. So even though “Company A” has a contract with the church, they have no relationship.

When another copier vendor (“Company B”) contacted Terri about the church’s needs, Terri said she’d talk with them. “Company B” noted specifically how they would save the church money on the contract. They described how they’d provide more maintenance and shared their “Company B” promise that they would contact the church to schedule the appointments. They noted the increased functionality they’d provide on the copier. And while changing vendors today and getting out of her current contract would require time and effort on Terri’s part, she’s willing to do it.

The reason that she’s willing to do it is partially because of what the new provider is offering. But here’s the big difference – she knows what it’s like to be a customer of the current vendor, and there’s no relationship, there’s no sense of caring, there’s no proactive communication, and there’s no sense that she – the customer – matters.

Realize that getting a customer is merely the start of a relationship. Make and execute the plans to develop a relationship, provide proactive communications, and ensure the customer feels like they matter to you.

Don’t Copy Company A.

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Baby Come Back – 3/17/15 TOW

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I’m dating myself here, but do you know the 1970’s song “Baby Come Back” by Player? If not, think about the Swiffer sweeper commercials where a mop or broom sings the song to a customer who has converted to Swiffer – the mop’s competitor.

Even if the song still doesn’t ring a bell, think about these lyrics:

Baby come back, any kind of fool could see
There was something in everything about you
Baby come back, you can blame it all on me
I was wrong, and I just can’t live without you

The mop lost a customer. He was heartbroken, and he wanted her back.

What’s the customer service lesson from the song? It’s this: Never let customers – even those that are lost – become a prospect. You worked too hard, too long to gain the customer and develop a relationship, so there should be some pain in the loss. But don’t let those hurt feelings or the hurt bottom line cause you to fully cut off communications with past customers. Instead, take these three actions with lost customers.

First, find out specifically why they left. You can assume, but if you want to know the true reason, then ask. Whether it’s through Exit Interviews or less formal means, identify the true reasons to apply those lessons to existing clients and operations.

Second, convey your interest in continuing communications with them. Even if all you say is “If it’s okay, I’ll plan to touch base with you every few months just to check in and see how you’re doing” or “If I come across something that might be of interest to you, I’ll send it your way.”

Third, keep the relationship warm. Create a Former Client Touch Point Plan, where every 2-6 months (based on the industry and customer type), you send them some information that may be of interest to them, something about a change or improvement in your company, or something of value to them.

I’m not suggesting that you spend undue resources on customers who’ve left; rather I’m simply suggesting that you never let those relationships go stale.

Don’t let lost customers become prospects. Adopt the mantra “Baby Come Back.”

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